UN economist turns Sudanese PM - GulfToday

UN economist turns Sudanese PM


Abdalla Hamdok speaks during a press conference in Khartoum. Associated Press

Sudan’s new prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, is a seasoned economist who faces the daunting task of rescuing his country’s moribund economy.

 Hamdok built a career in continental and international organisations, most recently as deputy executive secretary of the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa.

 He was welcomed off the plane Wednesday by two civilian members of the new Sovereign Council that was sworn in hours earlier and will oversee his government’s work.

 The joint civilian-military council replaced the transitional military council that took charge in April when general Omar Al-Bashir was forced from power by relentless street protests.

 The Sudanese people’s main expectation of Hamdok will be tangible solutions to the dire economic crisis Bashir’s rule and the last few months of political turmoil have caused.

 “With the right vision, with the right policies, we will be able to address this economic crisis,” he told reporters after taking the oath on Wednesday.

 He vowed to devise an urgent recovery programme addressing the shortages of basic commodities that have plagued Sudan and its 40 million inhabitants recently.

 The protests that eventually ended Bashir’s 30-year rule were ignited in December last year by the tripling of bread prices.

In the longer term, Hamdok emphasised the need to improve productivity and rebuild a banking sector he said had all but collapsed.

 His credentials as an economist seem solid, as was abundantly documented in the official biography distributed to media during his oath-taking ceremony.

 The text stressed Hamdok is “highly credible among African finance and development institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the Paris Club” of creditor countries.

 Hamdok worked for the African Development and Trade Bank and is credited with shaping some of the policies that spurred Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth under the late prime minister Meles Zenawi.

 Greeted as the saviour of Sudan’s economy, the greying, moustachioed technocrat was all smiles when he took questions from journalists on his first day on the job.

 While he was outside Sudan and not directly involved in the protest movement that terminated Bashir’s rule, Hamdok’s appointment appeared to be well received by the population.

Agence France-Presse